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  • Writer's pictureJud Parker

Is it Possible to Raise Kobe-Style Beef in the USA?

First, let us examine what makes Kobe so expensive and desirable.

Kobe beef is considered a delicacy and known for its superior flavor, as well as its tender, marbled texture. Kobe beef is known worldwide, but where does it come from? Kobe is a variety of Wagyu, which basically means it's a Japanese cow. That doesn’t mean every Japanese cow is Kobe though, in fact there are strict guidelines. Here are just a few of the requirements:

  • the producer and slaughterhouse must be paying members of the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association

  • the steer must be Tajima cattle (a term that effectively means Kuroge Washu-bred cattle raised in Hyogo prefecture)

  • the steer must be born in Hyogo prefecture

  • the steer must be raised and fed in Hyogo prefecture

  • the steer must be processed at slaughterhouses in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa, or Himeji in Hyōgo Prefecture

As you can see, to be considered Kobe beef the cattle must be born, raised, fed, slaughtered and processed in Hyogo Prefecture. Due to these strict criteria, only approximately 3,000 and 5,000 carcasses of Tajima cattle are qualified for Kobe beef annually.

Japan’s “Beef Marble Standard” Scale

Japan’s 12-point scale is a bit more complicated than the USDA grading, which only goes from 0 to 5 and only looks at the meat’s marbling. You can see some examples of meats that fit into this scale below:

Image courtesy of

Starting at level 8, the beef’s marbling becomes significantly more pronounced. This is what gives Kobe style beef its superior taste and tenderness.

Parker Blue Beef. Kobe-Style Quality and Standards, Born and Raised in Iowa, USA.

Jud Parker has developed a special run of cattle in Libertyville, Iowa which we are calling “Parker Blue.”

While neither Liberty Cattle nor any cattle farm outside of Japan’s designated geographic locations can satisfy the Kobe requirements, our specialty “Parker Blue” cuts do satisfy the following:

Parker Blue Beef

  • Ranked 8 or above on BMS Scale

  • Ranked 4 or above on Meat Quality Scale

  • Gross Weight of beef is less than 470kg

  • Age between 28 and 60 months of bullock or not calved cow

With the exception of geographic location being Iowa instead of Japan, our special beef cuts meet all of the criteria.


Yes! It is possible to raise Kobe-style beef in the USA, and Liberty Cattle has done it in Iowa. Order our Kobe-style “Parker Blue” beef today and taste the difference for yourself!


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